A Command of the Scripted Language

Last Sunday night, my wife and I were listening to the Lux Theatre Radio Production of The Letter, hosted by Cecil B. DeMille, recorded on March 6th, 1944.  It starred Bette Davis and Herbert Marshall, reprising their roles from the film, and Vincent Price, showing up new to the production for the radio version.  As we started listening to it something became apparent that I would not have predicted:  Bette Davis didn’t come off too well.  The inflections were right, the cadence of her voice clipped and dramatic as always but, somehow, there was something missing.  What was missing was her, of course.  Her face, her eyes, her hands, her cigarettes, her… everything.  Bette Davis is the full package.  You don’t get a nuanced spoken word performance from her, you get the full monty.  You get vocal language, eye language and body language.  Which takes me to the second surprise:  Herbert Marshall was the best thing in the production followed closely by Vincent Price.   Marshall didn’t exactly burn the screen up with fiery charisma but he had a great sonorous voice and on the radio, it was perfect for the job.  Marshall’s survival was based, like several other actors, on his command of the scripted language.

Bette and Herbert

Some actors just have that voice.  And, yes, actresses, too.  There may not be as many with a deep, rich voice simply because of biology, but they’re out there.    When an actor or actress has that voice, that rich, layered, textured voice, it can mitigate a lack of charisma onscreen.  And when that do have a lot of onscreen charm and charisma, it’s even better.  Now, Marshall was a good actor and I like him in a few things, including Alfred Hitchcock’s Murder and Edmund Goulding’s The Razor’s Edge, but he never really commands the screen like he commands a microphone.  Once his voice is all he has to work with, he can blow your onscreen charisma out of the water.  Heck, he would’ve been a natural for audio books had they happened a few decades earlier.

His costar in that production, Vincent Price (who would act with him again in The Fly), also had a voice that became as famous for itself as the person attached to it.  It lent itself to the gothic drama of horror and the narration of anything creepy.  In fact, several horror actors, from Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre to Bela Lugosi and John Carradine, had magnificent voices that served them well in the industry even when the onscreen role opportunities were slim.

Of course, if I’m listing my favorites (and that’s what this is, favorites, not an all-inclusive listing), I can’t go without mentioning Orson Welles, whose voice was so commanding that I can’t imagine him ever playing a wallflower or Capra-esque Everyman.  No way, not with that voice.  No, Orson always had to play big characters.  I’ve always said, and I’ll say it again, that the character of Harry Lime is so played up in The Third Man for so long before you see him (his old friend loves him, his girl adores him despite his shady dealings and the authorities are obsessed with him) that when he finally does appear he has to be Orson Welles.  He simply couldn’t be anybody else.

Now, of course, Welles played smaller than life characters on occasion, even in his own films (The Lady from Shanghai) but they had an exotic quality to them.  Even playing a lowlife in Touch of Evil, he makes Hank Quinlan seem like a U.S. Border Kingpin, not a detective.   And a lot of it was because of that voice, that extraordinary voice.

Much of the power of the voice was exploited on the radio for decades but once radio programs began to fade, actors with commanding voices found most of their voice work opportunities in narration.  This is where James Earl Jones came into his own.  After some minor success, like a small role in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, he became famous on Broadway for his portrayal of Jack Johnson pastiche  Jack Jefferson in The Great White Hope, for which he won a Tony.  In 1970, he starred in the film adaptation with fellow Broadway alumni, Jane Alexander and received his first Oscar nomination.  But still, lasting success eluded him until George Lucas took note of that voice and thought it would be perfect for Darth Vader in Star Wars.  And he was right, it was perfect.

James and Morgan

After that, Jones was an icon.  Practically everything on tv in the eighties was narrated by him, including the intro to CNN’s main newshour and in 1994, voiced Mufasa in Disney’s The Lion King.  Jones will always be a great actor, from his tv and stage work to his film and voiceover work but most people will always know him for that voice before anything else.  And let’s face it, once you do Star Wars, that’s what most people are going to know you for, period.

Taking up the mantle of the great narrative voice, Morgan Freeman came onto the scene back in the seventies on soap operas and children’s shows like Another World and The Electric Company before crashing the Hollywood scene with his movie stealing performance in Street Smart.   It wasn’t long before Freeman was starring and/or co-starring in several productions a year, receiving multiple nominations and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.  But it was his voice that insured that, no matter what happens to his screen career, he’ll always have a career in narrating.

With actresses, it doesn’t happen as often but when it does, it’s a winner.  Lauren Bacall, at the age of 19 (20 upon its release), was able to stand right next to Humphrey Bogart in To Have and Have Not and hold her own because that voice of hers made her seem at least twenty years wiser.  And it continued straight through The Big Sleep, Dark Passage and Key Largo.  A turn of phrase, a cutting barb or a sly come-on sounded completely different coming out of Bacall’s mouth.  She had a voice that made other actresses sound like little girls.  And, predictably, just like her male vocal counterparts, she ended up doing a tremendous amount of vocal work.  I probably recognized her voice from television ads as a kid long before I actually knew her as an actress from the movies.

Following in her footsteps was Kathleen Turner, who took the husky feminine voice and used it in ways even Bacall hadn’t imagined.  It was that damn voice that made her femme fatale in Body Heat so dangerous yet enticing.  By 1983, she was already parodying that character in Steve Martin’s The Man with Two Brains and doing it like she’d been playing that character her whole life.  Five years later, inevitably, she was doing voice work, providing that speaking voice (singing voice by Amy Irving) for Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Lauren Bacall Marlene Dietrich

Finally, just to round out my favorites, let me go back a bit to an actress who started out in German cinema before sailing across the pond, and bringing her director with her, to make movies in Hollywood. Marlene Dietrich not only had the rich, deep voice but the German accent which lent her already wonderful voice an added layer of the exotic.  Dietrich didn’t narrate much, like everyone else on this list, but she did quite a few songs and, boy, could she sing!  Dietrich remains one of the few people whose version of any given song runs a very good chance of being the best possible recorded version of that song.

There are many other great actors and actresses known more for their voice than anything else (or, at least as much for their voice as anything else) to listen to them is a rare treat.  These are just some of my favorites.  I’m glad Bette Davis starred in the Lux Theatre Radio Production of The Letter, it gave me a chance to notice the diffence in voices and then, of course, I just started thinking about all the great voices in entertainment and started falling in love again.  Hey, I never wanted to but what am I to do?  I can’t help it.

66 Responses A Command of the Scripted Language
Posted By jennifromrollamo : January 30, 2013 11:31 am

Another blogger of Classic movies that I read, recently put up links to that Lux Radio Theatre and I have also been enjoying those show immensely. They certainly make washing up the dishes after dinner a treat-and my kids have been listening in, asking questions, which has been educational, to tell them this is what their great-grandparents and grandparents had for entertainment, as television wasn’t invented yet or in that many homes yet.

Back to voices, an obscure actor and sometime director, Irving Pichel, had a wonderful voice. I saw him as Sandor in Dracula’s Daughter and read more about him and his career in Hollywood. Started out on the stage, went to Hollywood, did some acting, but
his voice was the narrator for How Green was my Valley, the voice of Jesus in The Great Commandment, and again, narrator for She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. I always have loved hearing Richard Burton’s voice, Richard Boone’s voice-he had a wonderful way with the dialogue on Have Gun Will Travel, especially when quoting Shakespeare or famous poems, and Lee J. Cobb’s gravelly, yet commanding voice.

Posted By jennifromrollamo : January 30, 2013 11:31 am

Another blogger of Classic movies that I read, recently put up links to that Lux Radio Theatre and I have also been enjoying those show immensely. They certainly make washing up the dishes after dinner a treat-and my kids have been listening in, asking questions, which has been educational, to tell them this is what their great-grandparents and grandparents had for entertainment, as television wasn’t invented yet or in that many homes yet.

Back to voices, an obscure actor and sometime director, Irving Pichel, had a wonderful voice. I saw him as Sandor in Dracula’s Daughter and read more about him and his career in Hollywood. Started out on the stage, went to Hollywood, did some acting, but
his voice was the narrator for How Green was my Valley, the voice of Jesus in The Great Commandment, and again, narrator for She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. I always have loved hearing Richard Burton’s voice, Richard Boone’s voice-he had a wonderful way with the dialogue on Have Gun Will Travel, especially when quoting Shakespeare or famous poems, and Lee J. Cobb’s gravelly, yet commanding voice.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : January 30, 2013 11:38 am

Jenni, great call on Irving Pichel. I didn’t know he was the narrator for How Green was My Valley and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.

And, yes, Richard Burton’s voice was absolutely beautiful. Hearing his brief narration in Zulu gives the movie an immediate weight before it starts.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : January 30, 2013 11:38 am

Jenni, great call on Irving Pichel. I didn’t know he was the narrator for How Green was My Valley and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.

And, yes, Richard Burton’s voice was absolutely beautiful. Hearing his brief narration in Zulu gives the movie an immediate weight before it starts.

Posted By jennifromrollamo : January 30, 2013 11:39 am

I meant to add that through those links to Lux Radio Theatre I have listended to Cary Grant(another great voice, btw) and Phyllis Thaxter in The Confession and William Powell and Myrna Loy in The Thin Man.

Posted By jennifromrollamo : January 30, 2013 11:39 am

I meant to add that through those links to Lux Radio Theatre I have listended to Cary Grant(another great voice, btw) and Phyllis Thaxter in The Confession and William Powell and Myrna Loy in The Thin Man.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : January 30, 2013 11:57 am

Radio productions are surprisingly effective. In fact, once you start listening to them, you wonder why they ever stopped them.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : January 30, 2013 11:57 am

Radio productions are surprisingly effective. In fact, once you start listening to them, you wonder why they ever stopped them.

Posted By Jennifer : January 30, 2013 12:28 pm

I notice that all of the female voices you listed that work well on radio are deep voices. Perhaps the technology did not exist that could pick up as much inflection in higher registers. I notice this on modern radio as well, that so many of the women who are dj’s speak lower than the average woman. Some try so hard I fear they will choke on their uvulas. But I digress. The point I am trying to make is that high voices are not very commanding and can be annoying.

I listened to Gary Cooper do The Virginian on radio and, though his voice was lovely, his normal acting style didn’t translate all that well. The only thing that saved it is that I could imagine his face and mannerisms. If I had never seen Cooper onscreen I imagine I would have enjoyed it a lot less.

Posted By Jennifer : January 30, 2013 12:28 pm

I notice that all of the female voices you listed that work well on radio are deep voices. Perhaps the technology did not exist that could pick up as much inflection in higher registers. I notice this on modern radio as well, that so many of the women who are dj’s speak lower than the average woman. Some try so hard I fear they will choke on their uvulas. But I digress. The point I am trying to make is that high voices are not very commanding and can be annoying.

I listened to Gary Cooper do The Virginian on radio and, though his voice was lovely, his normal acting style didn’t translate all that well. The only thing that saved it is that I could imagine his face and mannerisms. If I had never seen Cooper onscreen I imagine I would have enjoyed it a lot less.

Posted By Andrew Proue : January 30, 2013 12:58 pm

“The only reason you’re alive right now is because Morgan Freeman is narrating your life, as he does for billions and billions of others,”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ch5MEJk5ZCQ

Posted By Andrew Proue : January 30, 2013 12:58 pm

“The only reason you’re alive right now is because Morgan Freeman is narrating your life, as he does for billions and billions of others,”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ch5MEJk5ZCQ

Posted By Peter Nellhaus : January 30, 2013 1:36 pm

One of my favorite records when I was about six years old, was Basil Rathbone providing narration for Peter and the Wolf.

Posted By Peter Nellhaus : January 30, 2013 1:36 pm

One of my favorite records when I was about six years old, was Basil Rathbone providing narration for Peter and the Wolf.

Posted By kingrat : January 30, 2013 1:39 pm

Great column, Greg. Voices are so important to an actor. Speaking of women with beautiful deep voices, Barbara Baxley did a ton of voiceover work in commercials, as well as much stage work and supporting roles in films like ALL FALL DOWN and NASHVILLE. I’ve never cared for breathy little-girl voices on grown women (Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Onassis).

One of the delights in PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN is James Mason reciting poetry. He’s another actor with a marvelous voice. John Gielgud’s career was primarily a matter of his command of language. I love the soft, quiet, yet potentially sinister voice of the English character actor Raymond Huntley.

Posted By kingrat : January 30, 2013 1:39 pm

Great column, Greg. Voices are so important to an actor. Speaking of women with beautiful deep voices, Barbara Baxley did a ton of voiceover work in commercials, as well as much stage work and supporting roles in films like ALL FALL DOWN and NASHVILLE. I’ve never cared for breathy little-girl voices on grown women (Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Onassis).

One of the delights in PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN is James Mason reciting poetry. He’s another actor with a marvelous voice. John Gielgud’s career was primarily a matter of his command of language. I love the soft, quiet, yet potentially sinister voice of the English character actor Raymond Huntley.

Posted By Arthur : January 30, 2013 1:45 pm

Great post! What about Alan Ladd?

Posted By Arthur : January 30, 2013 1:45 pm

Great post! What about Alan Ladd?

Posted By Karen : January 30, 2013 2:28 pm

Love this topic, Greg, and of course, have an opinion. The Voice of Voices, I think, belongs to Claude Rains, closely followed by Edward G. Robinson and Walter Pidgeon. Rains could read the phone book, as they used to say, and keep one’s interest. Claudette Colbert’s voice was once compared to “cream of tomato soup” and Loretta Young’s recording of The Little Angel won her a Tony AND a nod as one of the world’s most attractive female voices. Boris Karloff had a marvelous voice, too, and I agree about Basil Rathbone…cream of potato soup.

Posted By Karen : January 30, 2013 2:28 pm

Love this topic, Greg, and of course, have an opinion. The Voice of Voices, I think, belongs to Claude Rains, closely followed by Edward G. Robinson and Walter Pidgeon. Rains could read the phone book, as they used to say, and keep one’s interest. Claudette Colbert’s voice was once compared to “cream of tomato soup” and Loretta Young’s recording of The Little Angel won her a Tony AND a nod as one of the world’s most attractive female voices. Boris Karloff had a marvelous voice, too, and I agree about Basil Rathbone…cream of potato soup.

Posted By Gene : January 30, 2013 3:45 pm

Great Post. Having been born of parents in their mid 40s I grew up on all the great Old Time Radio shows and deeply appreciate the incredible voices. Personally, my favorite would be that of James Mason.

Posted By Gene : January 30, 2013 3:45 pm

Great Post. Having been born of parents in their mid 40s I grew up on all the great Old Time Radio shows and deeply appreciate the incredible voices. Personally, my favorite would be that of James Mason.

Posted By Doug : January 30, 2013 8:15 pm

An interesting point about women’s voices of the higher register not ‘working’ as well as lower voices. I think that Kate Hepburn had a great voice, very distinctive. Myrna Loy also had a great voice.
I think Ginger Rogers had both a great speaking and a singing voice (which might be part of a different conversation).

Posted By Doug : January 30, 2013 8:15 pm

An interesting point about women’s voices of the higher register not ‘working’ as well as lower voices. I think that Kate Hepburn had a great voice, very distinctive. Myrna Loy also had a great voice.
I think Ginger Rogers had both a great speaking and a singing voice (which might be part of a different conversation).

Posted By Brian : January 30, 2013 8:48 pm

I wonder if Gregory Peck (one of my favorite voices) ever did any radio work?

Posted By Brian : January 30, 2013 8:48 pm

I wonder if Gregory Peck (one of my favorite voices) ever did any radio work?

Posted By B Piper : January 30, 2013 9:07 pm

Personal faves: Jose Ferrer, John Huston, and Roscoe Lee Brown. And it is unfortunate that dramatic television is all but extinct in America but thanks to the internet we have the BBC, which is wonderful.

Posted By B Piper : January 30, 2013 9:07 pm

Personal faves: Jose Ferrer, John Huston, and Roscoe Lee Brown. And it is unfortunate that dramatic television is all but extinct in America but thanks to the internet we have the BBC, which is wonderful.

Posted By B Piper : January 31, 2013 8:44 am

Dammit, I meant “dramatic radio”. Am I um-day.

Posted By B Piper : January 31, 2013 8:44 am

Dammit, I meant “dramatic radio”. Am I um-day.

Posted By DBenson : January 31, 2013 2:45 pm

I understand Claude Rains owed a bit of his unique vocal quality to a gas attack in World War One. Two of his biggest roles were primarily the vouce: “Invisible Man” and “Phantom of the Opera.”

Posted By DBenson : January 31, 2013 2:45 pm

I understand Claude Rains owed a bit of his unique vocal quality to a gas attack in World War One. Two of his biggest roles were primarily the vouce: “Invisible Man” and “Phantom of the Opera.”

Posted By MDR : January 31, 2013 3:25 pm

Of course Claude Rains, but also Hans Conried!

Posted By MDR : January 31, 2013 3:25 pm

Of course Claude Rains, but also Hans Conried!

Posted By Emgee : January 31, 2013 4:45 pm

Claude Rains had a severe spech impediment as a child AND had a Cockney accent. Speech therapy gave him one of the most mellifluous and recognisable voices in movie history. Imagine that.

Posted By Emgee : January 31, 2013 4:45 pm

Claude Rains had a severe spech impediment as a child AND had a Cockney accent. Speech therapy gave him one of the most mellifluous and recognisable voices in movie history. Imagine that.

Posted By missrhea : January 31, 2013 6:10 pm

I stumbled upon the Lux Theater radio programs a couple years ago when I was hunting for some of Robert Young’s dramatic radio work (vs. Father Knows Best or Good News of 1939 – MGM’s radio program). They are truly entertaining and I bought an entire set (haven’t listened to them all yet). You are so right about some ‘stars’ being better able to convince with their voices than others. My favorite actors to listen to always were Walter Pidgeon and Richard Burton but now I need to add Anthony Hopkins and Patrick Stewart. I’m a pushover for a great male voice. I spoke to my husband on the phone long before I met him in person. He “had me at ‘hello’.” (Married 25yrs come April 16.)

Posted By missrhea : January 31, 2013 6:10 pm

I stumbled upon the Lux Theater radio programs a couple years ago when I was hunting for some of Robert Young’s dramatic radio work (vs. Father Knows Best or Good News of 1939 – MGM’s radio program). They are truly entertaining and I bought an entire set (haven’t listened to them all yet). You are so right about some ‘stars’ being better able to convince with their voices than others. My favorite actors to listen to always were Walter Pidgeon and Richard Burton but now I need to add Anthony Hopkins and Patrick Stewart. I’m a pushover for a great male voice. I spoke to my husband on the phone long before I met him in person. He “had me at ‘hello’.” (Married 25yrs come April 16.)

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 1, 2013 12:03 am

So many great additions to the list. We could keep compiling a list of the greatest voices to ever grace the silver screen or the radio. While I limited myself to the voices in the deeper register, I must admit Claude Rains not only had a great voice but he knew how to use it. Seriously, a great voice is worthless if you don’t know how to play it up and Rains did.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 1, 2013 12:03 am

So many great additions to the list. We could keep compiling a list of the greatest voices to ever grace the silver screen or the radio. While I limited myself to the voices in the deeper register, I must admit Claude Rains not only had a great voice but he knew how to use it. Seriously, a great voice is worthless if you don’t know how to play it up and Rains did.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 1, 2013 12:05 am

Thanks for the mention of Roscoe Lee Brown. His voicing of Box in LOGAN’S RUN is my favorite part of that movie.

“Am I not overwhelming?”

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 1, 2013 12:05 am

Thanks for the mention of Roscoe Lee Brown. His voicing of Box in LOGAN’S RUN is my favorite part of that movie.

“Am I not overwhelming?”

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 1, 2013 12:08 am

You know, I never really thought about Alan Ladd but he certainly had a great voice. Of course, to a degree, all good actors use their voices well enough that they make them great. Not as many have that rich, deep, baritone but still can carry a voice-over or narration based on their talents alone.

A great recent baritone is Michael Dorn, Worf of Star Trek. I don’t know what narration work he’s done but his voice is great.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 1, 2013 12:08 am

You know, I never really thought about Alan Ladd but he certainly had a great voice. Of course, to a degree, all good actors use their voices well enough that they make them great. Not as many have that rich, deep, baritone but still can carry a voice-over or narration based on their talents alone.

A great recent baritone is Michael Dorn, Worf of Star Trek. I don’t know what narration work he’s done but his voice is great.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 1, 2013 12:10 am

missrhea, I love that you bought the set. There’s something really satisfying about listening to radio dramas and comedies. It’s enjoyable to sit in our living room, with a drink and a fire going, as we did last week, and listen to something like THE LETTER. We’ve also listened to a few GUNSMOKE episodes as well. Also very good.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 1, 2013 12:10 am

missrhea, I love that you bought the set. There’s something really satisfying about listening to radio dramas and comedies. It’s enjoyable to sit in our living room, with a drink and a fire going, as we did last week, and listen to something like THE LETTER. We’ve also listened to a few GUNSMOKE episodes as well. Also very good.

Posted By Emgee : February 1, 2013 6:56 am

More Memorable Movie Voices: Lee Marvin, John Hurt, Jack Palance, James Mason, Conrad Veidt, Peter Lorre, Judith Anderson, Colin Clive, Laird Cregar……

Posted By Emgee : February 1, 2013 6:56 am

More Memorable Movie Voices: Lee Marvin, John Hurt, Jack Palance, James Mason, Conrad Veidt, Peter Lorre, Judith Anderson, Colin Clive, Laird Cregar……

Posted By Doug : February 1, 2013 11:58 am

Greg, I also thought of Michael Dorn for this post-a great voice-I’ve been watching the TV show “Castle” lately and Dorn plays a therapist on the fourth season. A good actor.

Posted By Doug : February 1, 2013 11:58 am

Greg, I also thought of Michael Dorn for this post-a great voice-I’ve been watching the TV show “Castle” lately and Dorn plays a therapist on the fourth season. A good actor.

Posted By Arthur : February 1, 2013 2:47 pm

Greg, Alan Ladd was a little man with an extremely powerful, moving voice. At the end of Citizen Kane he is the reporter who makes the final comment, “We may never know what Rosebud meant.” And then the camera shifts to the sled burning in the furnace. That may have been his debut.

Posted By Arthur : February 1, 2013 2:47 pm

Greg, Alan Ladd was a little man with an extremely powerful, moving voice. At the end of Citizen Kane he is the reporter who makes the final comment, “We may never know what Rosebud meant.” And then the camera shifts to the sled burning in the furnace. That may have been his debut.

Posted By ziggy 6708 : February 2, 2013 3:46 am

Agnes Moorehead, John, Lionel & Ethel Barrymore, Charles Laughton

Posted By ziggy 6708 : February 2, 2013 3:46 am

Agnes Moorehead, John, Lionel & Ethel Barrymore, Charles Laughton

Posted By swac44 : February 2, 2013 12:36 pm

You always wish you could see more of Orson Welles as Harry Lime, but at least you can hear him play the character in a radio series which I’m sure you can find online (Archive.org probably has it). Highly entertaining, with one episode in particular providing the story foundation for his later feature Mr. Arkadin (or Confidential Report, or whatever).

Love that Rathbone version of Peter and the Wolf, I have a few other recordings, including one featuring Alec Guinness which I quite enjoy as well.

Posted By swac44 : February 2, 2013 12:36 pm

You always wish you could see more of Orson Welles as Harry Lime, but at least you can hear him play the character in a radio series which I’m sure you can find online (Archive.org probably has it). Highly entertaining, with one episode in particular providing the story foundation for his later feature Mr. Arkadin (or Confidential Report, or whatever).

Love that Rathbone version of Peter and the Wolf, I have a few other recordings, including one featuring Alec Guinness which I quite enjoy as well.

Posted By Richard B : February 3, 2013 12:55 am

Some voices are so instantly recognizable that they’re inescapable, so it was perhaps unwise to cast Danny Huston as Orson Welles in “Fade to Black,” as every time he opens his mouth all you can think of is his father.

“Race Street” is a great opportunity to listen in as George Raft and Harry Morgan try to out-deadpan each other.

Posted By Richard B : February 3, 2013 12:55 am

Some voices are so instantly recognizable that they’re inescapable, so it was perhaps unwise to cast Danny Huston as Orson Welles in “Fade to Black,” as every time he opens his mouth all you can think of is his father.

“Race Street” is a great opportunity to listen in as George Raft and Harry Morgan try to out-deadpan each other.

Posted By DBenson : February 5, 2013 5:08 pm

Joanne Worley on a DVD recalled working with an elderly Hans Conreid, and being surprised that he was American born. Conreid cheerfully explained that being foreign paid better. Even without an accent his voice and grand intonations felt Old World.

Odd to see a young Conreid in old B movies, playing hotel clerks and such and looking a bit weasely. Were Dr. T and Captain Hook in there waiting?

Posted By DBenson : February 5, 2013 5:08 pm

Joanne Worley on a DVD recalled working with an elderly Hans Conreid, and being surprised that he was American born. Conreid cheerfully explained that being foreign paid better. Even without an accent his voice and grand intonations felt Old World.

Odd to see a young Conreid in old B movies, playing hotel clerks and such and looking a bit weasely. Were Dr. T and Captain Hook in there waiting?

Posted By swac44 : February 6, 2013 8:49 am

One of my favourite offbeat Conreid bits is a comedy sketch from some ’50s TV variety show where he plays a nervous airplane passenger seated next to a garrulous Texan played by that bright up-and-coming comedian Jonathan Winters. An unusual combination, but it makes for a great piece.

Posted By swac44 : February 6, 2013 8:49 am

One of my favourite offbeat Conreid bits is a comedy sketch from some ’50s TV variety show where he plays a nervous airplane passenger seated next to a garrulous Texan played by that bright up-and-coming comedian Jonathan Winters. An unusual combination, but it makes for a great piece.

Posted By Volker S. : February 8, 2013 11:41 am

On the radio, John Dehner was outstanding in FRONTIER GENTLEMAN and HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL. Very nuanced and thoughtful.

Orson Welles always surprised me on MERCURY THEATRE when he played multiple roles, as he often managed to sound different in each one.

Posted By Volker S. : February 8, 2013 11:41 am

On the radio, John Dehner was outstanding in FRONTIER GENTLEMAN and HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL. Very nuanced and thoughtful.

Orson Welles always surprised me on MERCURY THEATRE when he played multiple roles, as he often managed to sound different in each one.

Posted By robbushblog : February 11, 2013 3:05 am

Hans Conreid, Paul Frees and Edward Everett Horton. These, in addition to James Earl Jones, were the voices I grew up hearing so often. I am a huge Star Wars and Rocky and Bullwinkle fan and I love the old Rankin-Bass animated Christmas specials. And Gary Owens, from Laugh-In and so many other things.

Posted By robbushblog : February 11, 2013 3:05 am

Hans Conreid, Paul Frees and Edward Everett Horton. These, in addition to James Earl Jones, were the voices I grew up hearing so often. I am a huge Star Wars and Rocky and Bullwinkle fan and I love the old Rankin-Bass animated Christmas specials. And Gary Owens, from Laugh-In and so many other things.

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